Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Dark Heart ~ Part 23

“I believe they all got out, the family and servants, everyone,” said Jackson. “Since they were witches, the fire gave them the opportunity to start a new life without anyone catching on to the fact that they don’t age.”
“Well, aren’t you the romantic,” said Emberlyn.
“I just like happy endings,” said Jackson.
“Did your mother read you fairy tales as a child?” asked Emberlyn.
Jackson nodded. “She did, almost every night. You see my father left us when we were really young and I think she wanted me to see there were good men in this world. Men that would fight for love.”
“She is a very wise woman,” said Emberlyn, “That couldn’t have been easy on her.”
“It wasn’t,” said Jackson, picking at some grass, “but I only saw her cry once. She worked two jobs and I never wanted for anything I needed. My grandma took care of me most of the time, when Mom was working.”
“So two strong women in your life. That makes a lot of sense,” said Emberlyn.
“How so?” asked Jackson with a cock of his head.
“Besides the fact you know how to dance a waltz that would put Gene Kelly to shame, you seem to be at ease around strong women. You don’t know how many men feel they have to puff out their chests and always be on point when their around me. It’s gotta be exhausting,” said Emberlyn, “but you’re not afraid to make a mistake or look silly.”
“That’s because I am the king of mistakes and I always look silly,” joked Jackson. “It’s part of my every day charm.”
Emberlyn laughed. “Well, it is charming, not that you’ve made a mistake or looked silly in my presence, yet.”
“Give me time,” said Jackson, “it’ll happen. I’m sure I looked pretty silly punching that guy in your garden, but I don’t think it was mistake.”
“It was neither,” said Emberlyn as she laced her arm into the crook of his. “It was very chivalrous.”
“There was a little bit of chest puffing,” admitted Jackson.
“Just a little,” Emberlyn giggled.
Jackson felt heat rise through his body as Emberlyn gently laid her head on his shoulder. She felt so perfect lying against him and he could swear he could hear his heart beating in unison with hers. A breeze made its way through the trees causing the leaves to rustle. Jackson couldn’t help but feel they were cheering him on, rooting for him to gently lift her chin and kiss her.
“We should get going,” said Emberlyn, breaking Jackson’s trance. “I’m sure Alister is waiting with the car at the trailhead.”
As Emberlyn stood, Jackson felt as if his whole body sighed with regret. The moment was gone and he reminded himself that she wasn’t looking for a romantic relationship. She just wanted to be his friend and he was setting himself up for another Genna-like crush, even though Emberlyn was nothing like Genna.
As Jackson rose, his mind flooded with all the things he liked about Emberlyn. How kind and generous she was. How she was a good listener and had a flair for finding the unusual beauty in places like an abandoned cemetery.
Starting down the road, Jackson hoped she would take his elbow again, but she didn’t. Jackson put his hands in his pockets and concentrated on the beauty around him. Even though he tried to look at the trees, flowers, and nature, his gaze kept falling on Emberlyn.

He heard the growl first and stopped in his tracks. He gently grabbed Emberlyn’s arm to keep her from taking another step. There in overgrown road stood a grey wolf.

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