- 6th day of Hanotë -
Part 6 - An Ice Cold Burning Kiss
Ilea dismounted her white horse and caressed its front.
“You may go now. But don’t go too far … We won’t stay long,” she told it and watched as the white mare trotted away, free from any kind of saddle or rein, since Ilea didn’t use them.
Arkadi shook his head disapprovingly but ended up releasing his horse as well.
“Don’t know how you’re not afraid to fall, riding like that,” he commented, curled up inside his cloak while trying his best to stop trembling from the cold, and Ilea gave him a condescending smile as if he were no more than a silly child.
“I know she won’t let me fall. We talked about such things before leaving the Tower.”
Arkadi pulled his cloak up against his neck. It was freezing cold, he thought, painfully aware that he’d lost all sensibility on his nose. Ilea, on the other hand, and like with so many things, seemed immune to the cold, wearing a simple cotton tunic, her cloak opened over her chest in a way that gave him goose pumps just to look at.
He watched as she walked over to where a deep icy cliff started, the cold wind blowing her silver hair and spreading it through the air like rays of light, uncovering her pointy hears she normally kept carefully hidden.
Dragging his feet he stood beside her and, after a quick look over the eternal whiteness in front of them, fixed his attention on her.
“They’re kind of cute …”
“You’re ears,” he answered and she looked at him in disbelief.
“Not really. They get cold much faster,” she replied sounding somewhat crossed, and turned back to return to the place they’d chosen to make camp.
He watched her once more and ended up sighing and following like before.
“Ilea? Why are you being like this? In the Tower …”
“In the Tower there was always someone to remind us of the lines that can’t be crossed,” she replied without even looking at him and stopped when he held her hand, his cold fingers seeming even colder against her warm skin.
“What are you afraid of …?”
“I’m not afraid. We only experience fear when there are still solutions and choices to be made, and we fear making the wrong choice. There aren’t any choices left for me … What’s there to fear?”
“You, on the other hand, have plenty of choices to make,” she told him, facing him, and he couldn’t help standing there, just looking at her, at how beautiful, how amazing she was. “And there are things … things that you still don’t know. Things that will probably make you choose differently ...” she added, pulling away, but he hugged her from behind, stopping her once more.
“I don’t need to know anything else!” he whispered, his breath warming her neck, and Ilea closed her eyes, as if shutting out the world could silence the pain inside her chest as well. “You know how much I love you …”
At the sound of those words it felt as if something inside her had just broke, and tears slid down her cheeks and froze over her skin like shiny diamonds.
She allowed him to turn her around, his hands colder than the wind when he caressed her face, and then his lips gently touched hers. Even though he had desired to do so many times before, he had never managed to gather enough courage. And now that he knew how soft her lips were he couldn’t help but wanting more.
Locking a hand on her neck so she wouldn’t pull away, he pushed against her, kissing her, taking advantage of her uncertainty to invade her mouth; her heat and the taste of her sending flames running throughout his entire body, much like a surge of magical power.
Ilea hugged him, forcing him break that kiss, and hid her face against his shoulder trying to catch her breath. And then he was back to his senses and, as he pulled his arms around her, a bitter taste filled his mouth when he noticed the frail way she was trembling.
“Forgive me …” he begun to say but her head shot up straight, and she quickly placed a hand over his lips to silence him.
“No … we will not talk about this …” she practically ordered, her purple eyes still filled with tears, and simply stepped away from his embrace, whispering her horse’s name and waiting for its return.
Arkadi watched as she walked away, a deep agony filling him inside, consuming him as if he’d swallowed acid.
Above all he knew that there was nothing none of them could do, and that, in the end, she was right.