Friday, June 7, 2013

Delia J. Colvin – Excerpt: The Symbolon: Book 2 of The Sibylline Trilogy


Present Day—Morgana

Asleep in a tee shirt and pajama bottoms, Alex struggled. Valeria saw the signs of another one of his nightmares—his tense movement and sweat-drenched brow, the rapid breathing and near-words. In fact, they had occurred almost every night since her return home from the hospital. He would refuse to tell her about them, saying it was all “old news” but she wished that he would talk to her.

Camille had said it was to be expected; he had spent eons fighting very real threats to Valeria’s existence. How could that all be forgotten in the few months since what they had termed, optimistically, “the final battle”. In her mind it was akin to calling World War I, “the war to end all wars”; it simply begged to be proven wrong. But she would keep her sentiments to herself. Alex had been through enough!

She had finally recovered from pneumonic plague and the near drowning. Though not in 24 hours as she would have if she were like the rest of the oracles. On the bright side, an MRI at 10 days revealed that the massive lesions in her lungs had completely healed! The doctors, stunned by the results, said it should have taken at least eight weeks for her lungs to heal and asked for another MRI. Mani had halted those discussions fairly quickly. However, she still seemed to need a lot of sleep. Mani had warned that although the lesions were gone, pneumonia was still a very real possibility due to the weakened state of her lungs.

Still, they all clung to the dream that she was now immortal. She had survived the curse that had killed her over numerous lifetimes on her 27th birthday. Valeria remembered the moment when Tavish had asked the question that was on most of their minds. Could the curse have been delayed a year? As soon as he let the words slip from his mouth, she could see his regret. The momentary flash of terror in Alex’s eyes had been almost more than any of them could bear. Tavish was crushed!

Despite the fact that he seemed like a big, tough Scotsman, she had discovered just how sensitive he was that day. He slowly kneeled in front of the leather sofa where Alex and Valeria, sat, with what she was certain were near tears in his eyes.

“Laddie” He drew in a breath, “Lass…I dunnot know what causes me mouth to ramble on without thought!” Then he stopped as if he was afraid of his emotions. The whole room sat speechless, no doubt trying to find the right words to erase the fears and hurt that had just been released.

“Tav…it’s alright,” Valeria said. Leaning forward while clinging to Alex’s hand, she stroked the side of Tavish’s face. In response to her touch, Tavish pulled back and dropped his head as if ashamed of himself. “It’s alright,” she soothed as he shook his head.

Camille jumped in, “Tavish, we all know that you were simply talking through what was going on in your head and that you don’t really believe that as a possibility. Isn’t that right?”

Swallowing, Tavish nodded and rose.

Finally Alex was able to push his fears back and speak, “Thankfully, we no longer need to concern ourselves with curses.” His arms worked around Valeria in a way that displayed a hint of his fear that his love might not be with him permanently.

Still all indications were that the threats had been handled and that she was now immortal! It also seemed that they had rid themselves of their enemy, the immortal Aegemon, who had probably placed the curse. And her eyes had returned to the extraordinary color that they termed, “oracle blue”, that was really multiple, extraordinary shades of blue. It was still a shock for her when she looked in the mirror.

In addition to that, Mani had tested Valeria’s blood before and after the final battle and discovered that on both tests she carried the DNA of an immortal oracle. The question was did she only have that DNA this lifetime or since her life as Cassandra of Troy? And based on the DNA, why didn’t she recover as an immortal might. Needless to say there were a lot of questions that didn’t appear would be answered unless Valeria became sick or started to age.

Aging was the other question. Had she already suffered her Prima Mortis—the first death of an immortal that would stop the aging process and identify her Achilles’ heel? If so, was her Achilles’ heel the plague, drowning, pneumonia, hypothermia or high fever? They might never know the answer to these. She laughed and said that she had decided to steer clear of all of them…at least for a while. But as much as Alex loved that she was happy, he simply didn’t have the ability to find any humor when it came to talk of her possible mortality.

Over the past few months, with all they had been through, Alex and Valeria had grown even closer. As he continued to struggle in his sleep, she brushed his face and whispered his name. He always had that moment when he took a harsh breath—as if a door had closed and he seemed to be wondering which world he was now in.

Then his arms would find her and cautiously, as if she might disappear, they would move around her with so much longing, that she could almost feel his eons of pain. It always brought tears to her eyes. But she tried to hide it from Alex. Especially today!

“Hey,” she said, gently stoking his face. “It’s okay. Everything’s okay.” His breathing slowed as he clung to her tightly.

Finally he relaxed and pulled her into him affectionately. He took a deep breath, trying to cleanse himself of the memories and brushed her hair back from her face.

“Are you kidding?” He smiled, but the dream still clung to him. “It’s way more than okay!” He pushed the smile to his eyes. “I’m marrying the woman of my dreams in just a few days!” And then she saw that the dream was now behind him. It was always a marvel to her how he could do that!

Cocking her head to the side, she thought about asking him if he wanted to talk about it. But now seeing his spark back, she didn’t want the worry to return to his extraordinarily beautiful face.

She pulled his left hand into hers, in a move that was now familiar to him, and began tracing the triangular mark on the back of his hand between his thumb and forefinger that was formed by continuous loops.

“Tell me about it again,” she said, as she pressed her mouth to his hand.

“It’s our unique mark; the one that is only for you and me. This particular shape is called a triquetra or more commonly, a trinity knot,” he said, his voice still sexy with sleep. “Apollo gave a special mark to symbolons…soul mates, if you prefer,”—the corners of his mouth turned up in the way she loved—“so that we would know our other half.”

“But our mark is more significant,” she said, her eyes focused on his.

Alex brushed her face with his free hand, as his eyes glowed with love, “Yes. Most of the marks I’ve seen appear fairly arbitrary. And ours does seem to have particular significance.” They laced the fingers of their left hands together, in a need for more closeness.

“I do think that Apollo could have made it easy on us and placed mine someplace more obvious,” she joked, and then lowered her brows. “Alex, do you really think I have our mark?”

“Absolutely!” he said, and then glanced down towards their hands. “But…you know, I have never needed a mark to know that we belong together!”

The sun flitted through the windows and he smiled, as he pulled her head down to his and kissed her sweetly, then with her face still inches from him, his eyes filled with playful joy, “Besides, I was thinking that searching for your mark would give me something else to do…”—he drew a quick breath—“on our honeymoon!”

It was the first time either of them had mentioned the honeymoon and what occurred in her body at that moment was a reaction of a previously unknown magnitude and it shocked and thrilled her! She felt an electrical charge that forced her heart into high-gear and revved her internal engines. He responded by running his hands down her spine, as his mouth covered hers.

Then just as suddenly he sighed and rolled her onto the bed next to him. With his voice husky from sleep and desire, he drew a deep breath muttering, “Just a few more days…”

Shaking it off, Alex offered her a cursory glance and a smile before jumping up. “Coffee?”

She pulled up on her elbow. “You need to ask?”

“Good point!” He grinned.

“I’ll shower, while you make the coffee,” she proposed.

She went into the bathroom and turned on the water, and then while the temperature of the water warmed, she peeked into the great room, “So where exactly are we going?”

“You’re just going to have to wait and see,” he said without turning his head from the task at hand. But she could see the hint of his smile from the angle.

She pouted, “But you know I don’t like surprises!” He turned to bring the coffee pot to the sink on the marble island. Now facing her, he began filling it with purified water.

“Yes, I do know that.” He winked. “And as you well know, I did share that with Camille. But she has insisted.” He raised his eyebrows innocently and shrugged, “I am therefore…sworn to secrecy.”

This had become a standard line of question and answer between the two of them. Because she was still looking at him expectantly, he sat the pot down and cocked his head to the side. Leaning his arms on the counter, the corners of his mouth turned up in a mischievous smile. She attempted to match his expression, except her eyes widened in expectation when he began to snicker…which always caused her to giggle, effectively ending the stand-off. As he went back to the coffee-making, she went back to the bath.

Stepping into the warm shower, she realized that it was useless—she had been trying to get it out of both of them for months now. Despite the fact that he said it was Camille’s secret, Valeria knew that a part of Alex was anxious to surprise her. He seemed to live to please her!

Camille, being very organized about things, had come by daily with a very long list of details from colors to flowers. Valeria hated to admit it, but it was kind of the best of both worlds; she didn’t have to plan the wedding or worry about the results. She just had to show up to what she knew would be just what she would have wished for…and then marry the beautiful man that was well beyond anything she could have ever dreamed up. Tears of joy formed at the thought of how very fortunate she was that he had found her…and loved her. She blinked back the tears as she stepped out of the shower and wrapped herself in the rich Turkish towel before heading into the bedroom.

To her surprise, Alex was sitting on the edge of the bed waiting for her, holding her coffee cup. He normally avoided being near her when she wasn’t fully dressed. Especially fresh out of the shower—the temptation was just too great! She gave him a brief quizzical look before taking the coffee.

“Here you go. Just the way you like it.” He winked.

Sipping the coffee, rich with cream, she sighed, “Hmmmm!” And then taking advantage of his sudden mood, she leaned in just enough to kiss his neck. “Thank you!” She smiled seductively at him.

Then she noticed that he was looking at her with…that look. With a hint of embarrassment, she posed. He let out his beautiful laugh that always lifted her heart and she started for the closet.

“Hang on!” He grabbed her hand and pulled her back to him.

Carefully moving the coffee cup behind his back, she leaned into him. He wrapped his arms around her amorously, running his hands over her shoulders and down her back. Stunned and excited, Valeria wished she could get rid of the full cup of coffee in her hand and lunge at him.

She reasoned that perhaps he was feeling more relaxed because the threats seemed to be gone and they were actually going to be married in only a few more days! She was breathless…and still holding her cup of very full coffee—perhaps that was his plan! Then Alex released her.

“Wow!” She raised both eyebrows, attempting to hear her voice over her pounding heart, “Where did that come from?” she asked breathlessly as she gently pulled her cup from behind his neck, being careful not to spill a drop. Her responses to him were always such a wonder to her!

He smiled and took a deep breath, “I just want to be married to you!”

“Well now.” She leaned back into him, and said softly, “That is an amazing coincidence!”

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Genre – Paranormal

Rating – PG

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