The Destiny Series
~ Book Two ~
Where Destiny sets its path, Fate shall follow…
~ Deborah Ann
IT’S CRAZY HOW spontaneously our life course can change. Two days ago, I was missing Cayden, enjoying his Christmas surprise, and enjoying time with friends. Two days ago, I wanted nothing more than I wanted to see him and to be with him. Now I’d gladly go back, suffer with being apart if it meant knowing he’d be his vibrant self. Because now—in some wicked twist—I’m sitting beside Cayden in this hospital, waiting to see if fate has overtaken our destiny; watching his still form, in this deafening, painful silence. Never have I gone two days without speaking with Cayden, not since our worlds entangled. Never have I cried so many tears, so many that there are no more, nothing but the shattered remnants of my broken heart—a numb, empty shell of my prior self, my prior self joined with my soul mate. Now that life waits in the balance, waits for the other half of my soul to enliven. Waits to feel Cayden’s touch, to see the sparkling flecks in his glowing emerald eyes, to feel his warm whispered breath against my skin and breathe in his amazing scent, feeling that scent drive me wild. Unlike this still form of him that reeks of this nasty, sterile hospital and leftover blood—a constant reminder of death, and pain…
1. Surprise Visitor
DECEMBER 26th, THE day after Christmas, a dark and dismal day; the sky spreading its moisture about, like tears shed upon us, as if to mirror my mood. I miss Cayden, I miss him terribly, especially after the magical night we spent for my birthday—the night he left town. Though I spent the following day surrounded by family, I still felt alone and chose to text with Cayden most of Christmas day—he, too, was missing me. He’d become such a part of me, I was having trouble functioning without him.
It was a relief, to at least know he’d traveled free of harm and was safe with his family. I can trust his safety with them and have little doubt evil will find him there, at least not the vampires that seek revenge—no, they are here, waiting to unexpectedly attack. Where and when is still unclear, Cayden’s visions had remained muddled on that part; well, that’s the impression he’d left me with anyway. There’s always the possibility Cayden’s keeping the whole picture from me.
I, myself, still continue to be haunted on a regular basis with nightmares of the twin vampires. Cayden feels, like I do, that what I’m seeing is more of a premonition, or some sort of intuition, rather than a nightmare. And they are always the same, the vampire twins separating me from Cayden. At this point, I’m not sure if I am foreseeing the inevitable future, or if my fear of being separated from Cayden is causing my mind to play tricks on me. Either way, the thoughts are horrifying. And now that the weather has turned to the type Cayden had seen in his vision of their visit, the time is near. All I can do now is wish for Cayden’s safe return to me and hope it will be before the vampires show their faces.
As for today and my gloomy mood, I’m not sure what I’m going to do with myself. The holiday past, I now have a free day ahead of me—alone. I plopped myself onto the sofa in the family room, pondering a plan for the day.
“Good morning, Dani,” Dad greeted on his way to the kitchen. “How’s my favorite girl this morning?”
“All right, I guess. Hey, you want to take down the Christmas tree today?” I asked, desperate for something to do.
“Not particularly. But I’m not going to let you sit here and sulk all day, either. How about you and I catch a movie today? I’ll even treat you to lunch,” he offered, standing in front of me, hopeful.
“I guess. What about Mom? Maybe she’d like to come along?”
“Your mother plans on staying home and relaxing today. She’s worn out from all the holiday company we’ve had the past couple of days.”
“All right, what do you want to see?”
“You pick. We’ll see whatever you’d like.”
“Really…even a girly movie?”
“Yep. It’s your day,” he smiled.
“Thanks Dad! I’ll go check the internet to see what’s playing,” I uttered, excited to now have a plan for the day, and something to keep my mind off of missing Cayden. I sprung from the couch, headed towards my room, when someone knocked at our door.
“You want to grab that on your way?” Dad asked.
“Sure. Are you expecting someone?” I wondered; it’s kind of early for visitors.
“Just get the door, preferably before they leave?”
“They? You do know who it is.”
“Get the door already!” he hollered impatiently.
I ran to the door, now anxious to find out who was behind it. I turned the knob, not expecting what I found when the door swung open.
“Trista!” I yelled, lunging at her with a hug. “Oh my gosh, what are you doing here?”
“I’m your surprise from Cayden,” she announced. “He flew me up to stay with you while he’s out of town. Kirby and I are going to keep you company.”
Cayden did mention before leaving that he had another surprise for me and that it would be delivered to my door the morning after Christmas. In my gloomy mood, I had totally forgotten. “Unbelievable! And you were in on this Kirby?” My eyes swung to him.
“Someone had to pick Trista up at the airport,” he grinned.
“Kirby, you’ve been keeping quite a few secrets from me lately. Should I worry your loyalty’s shifting from me to Cayden?” I questioned when I hugged him.
He kissed my cheek. “Of course not. It was all for you.”
“Thank you.” I released Kirby and embraced Trista again. “Oh my gosh, Trista, I can’t believe you’re really here.”
“Dani,” my dad shouted from the kitchen, “your cell‘s ringing.”
“That’s Cayden! Come in, you can bring your things to my room.” I hurried to my bedroom and grabbed my iPhone from the nightstand. “Hello, Cayden.”
“Hello, beautiful,” he sweetly spoke. “I assume my surprise has arrived?”
“Your assumption is correct. What a great surprise, to find Trista at my doorstep with Kirby. Thank you.”
“Will they suffice to keep you occupied while I’m away?”
“Somewhat,” I answered flatly.
“Are they in the room with you now?”
“Yes, as a matter-of-fact.”
“So you can’t talk honestly right now, is that what I’m to understand?”
“Would you prefer we talk later?”
“Still, I should let you go. I didn’t fly Trista up to watch you talk to me on the phone; the three of you have catching up to do. However, to converse privately, you should text me as soon as you can and tell me what you are really feeling.”
“I’m sure you can guess,” I supposed, my words heavy with implied meaning.
“I’ve got a fairly good idea it’s similar to what I am feeling; or I should say, what I would rather be doing at the moment.”
“I love you, princess.”
“Not as much as I do you.”
“You make such an assumption, yet you do not say the words aloud. That leaves me doubtful, and quite certain that I do in fact love you more,” he taunted me.
“That’s not fair,” I charged, but was hooked in just the same. “All right—fine. I love you Cayden Bridwell, more than life, and I can’t wait till you’re back home with me.”
He chuckled. “That’s more like it, you’ve almost convinced me.”
“Almost? That should prove my love to be more, clarifying it out loud in front of my friends.”
“I’ll concede, we are equally loved by one another,” he compromised, amusement in his voice. “I so wish I
could be with you, I bet your cheeks are my favorite rosy shade. Are they warm?!”
I touched the back of my fingers to my cheek. “Yes…very. You’ve got me to thoroughly embarrass myself.”
“Can you visualize it, what I’d be doing if I was beside you now?” Cayden flirted.
“Yes,” I whispered, turning my back to Trista and Kirby to sit on the edge of my bed. With my eyes closed, I could actually feel Cayden’s touch to my cheek, as if he was sitting beside me.
“Then you know what would be next: I’d slip my hand under your curls, to the back of your neck, guiding you nearer so that I could…”
So he could better love me with his kisses. I know exactly what he’d be doing; I could see him, feel him, as real as the fluttering butterflies I was feeling in my stomach. “Why are you torturing me this way?”
“It’s not enough to tell you how much I love you; I want you to feel my love for you.”
“I do, and you’ve once again left me desperately needing more. You so owe me for this,” I whispered.
“I’ll gladly pay up, the moment I see you.”
“I can’t wait.”
“I think I’ve made a mistake; instead of flying Trista to you after the holiday, I should have flown you to me, to occupy your time myself.”
“I would have liked that,” I murmured back. “But it’s too late now.”
“I suppose so,” Cayden settled. “You should get back to your friends. I’ll talk with you very soon, beautiful girl. And do be sure to thank Kirby for me, would you.”
“Soon, then. Goodbye, Cayden.” I ended our call and curled up in my bed, back to the mood I started this morning with.
Kirby stood beside me. “Come on, get up.” He grabbed my hands, pulling me from the bed. “I know how much you miss him, but I’m not gonna let you do this to yourself. The three of us are going to have some fun while Cayden’s away.” He took me in his arms and held me tight.
“I’m not sure I know how,” I professed under my breath.
Kirby hastily pulled back, leaving his hands on my shoulders. “That’s ridiculous; the three of us always have fun together. It’s been six months since Trista moved, we have a lot of time to make up for.” He paused, staring at my face. “Amazing…how’d he get you to blush over the phone,” he arced a brow, “or do I not want to know?”
I grinned, and Kirby kindly rubbed his hand down the side of my face. “Was it what you said?”
My lashes bashfully fluttered, “…Yes, that, and…um, some other thing’s he said.”
“Okay, don’t tell me anymore,” Kirby’s face winced, “that’s already more than I need to know,” he determined. “Though, you shouldn’t be embarrassed to say your feelings aloud in front of me. I’m already very aware of them.”
“I know, but…” I silenced, interrupted by the ring of Kirby’s cell.
“Hello?” he answered, stepping back. “Hey, how’s it going? …Yeah, I got it handled…she’ll be fine…we were just discussing the color of her cheeks…yes, she does look beautiful…yeah, I will…bye.”
“Was that Cayden, checking up on me?” I asked when Kirby hung up smiling.
“Of course. He asked me to give you a hug from him.” Kirby moved forward and embraced me again. “Now that you and Cayden are reassured, let’s get Trista settled so we can go. Your dad’s taking us to a movie and lunch today.”
“Ahh,” I inhaled a sharp breath, “my dad tricked me, making me think he wanted to spend time with me.”
“He does want to spend time with you,” Kirby countered. “Why else would he be coming along?”
“I guess,” I conceded, then looked him straight in the eye. “I have a question for you Kirby?”
“Go ahead, shoot!”
“Does Cayden have you babysitting me this week?”
His arms folded in front of him. “Not exactly, but you know the situation, and I’m staying close by while he’s away.”
“Thank you, Kirby”
“I feel totally out of the loop,” Trista muttered. “What are you two going on about?”
“It’s nothing, really,” I assured her. She’d be upset if she knew I’d been keeping things from her. But there is no way I can share Cayden’s secrets—or the vampire scare—not without him. Besides, I’m not certain she can handle it. “If you’d like, you can log onto my computer and pick the movie you’d like to watch today. You know the password, it’s the same.”
“Great!” she settled quickly, moving towards my computer.
“I’m really glad you came to visit, Trista.”
“Thanks, Dani. Me, too!”
I looked back to Kirby, mouthing my words to him so Trista wouldn’t hear them. “She can’t know the truth, or why you and Cayden are so protective over me.”
“I know,” he mouthed back with a nod. “We’ll be careful.”
I smiled, “Thanks.”
~ * ~
Our lunch and movie went well, even managing to distract my attention off of Cayden for a while. I think my dad enjoyed our day the most. I had only been aware of my own relationship with Trista before, never realizing how attached my parents had been to her. It was very obvious to me now, seeing how happy my dad was to have Trista with us.
“Thanks for the movie and lunch, Dad. It was a lot of fun.” I hugged him briefly.
“I had a good time also,” he said. “It’s nice to see you smiling and laughing with your friends.”
I gave him a slight smile, getting his point loud and clear—he was tired of seeing me mope about Cayden being gone the last couple of days.
“I think I’ll find your mother and see how she enjoyed her peaceful day. Thanks for letting me tag along with you kids today,” he voiced as he left for his bedroom.
“I’m glad you came, Dad,” I said after him.
“Now, you two need to go get changed, we’re going out tonight,” Kirby prodded.
“Out? Where?” I questioned.
“Curiosity…the under twenty one club. Trista mentioned she wanted to check it out, now that we’re all seventeen and can get in.”
“Yay!” Trista chimed. “Thanks, Kirby. You’re going to love this place, Dani. We have a similar dance club in Ventura. A group of us go every weekend; it’s the place to hang out.”
“And you dance?!” I asked, staggered a bit, remembering the dance Trista and I attended last school year—she spent the entire night too self-conscious to dance, even with me.
“Yes I dance! There are tons of hot guys at that club; a new guy for every song, all night long,” she responded. “You love to dance, Dani. You’ll have a blast tonight, and I bet there are just as many cute guys here at this club.”
I rolled my eyes to Kirby. “Will Adrian be coming with us?” I was praying he’d say yes.
“Nope! I’m with you tonight.”
“That’s not right, she should come along. I’ll give her a call.”
“She made other plans,” he quickly said. “She’s okay with it, she understands. And I’ve already Ok’d it with your dad…and Cayden. So we are going!”
Trista approached me, “You don’t seem as excited as I thought you’d be, Dani. Don’t you and Cayden go to the dances?” she asked.
I pressed my lips together to hold back my grin, looking to a laughing Kirby.
“I don’t get the joke,” Trista uttered with annoyance.
“Trista…eh…Dani and Cayden are into more private interaction. You couldn’t pay them to attend something as public as a school dance—unless it was maybe prom,” Kirby clarified with a laugh.
“For real?” She shot back, her dubious judgment written all over her face.
I simply nodded.
“I can’t believe you haven’t had Cayden take you to a single dance…especially since you enjoy yourself so much when you go.”
“We’d be out of place, Trista; they play nothing but fast music at those school dances,” I gently spoke. “Besides, we promised my dad we’d be discreet at school.”
Her brows pushed together. “I’m not understanding what you mean,” she remarked, puzzled by my words.
After giving Kirby a warning glare for continuing to laugh, I turned back to Trista. “I guess my dancing preference has changed,” I offered in explanation.
“Now I much prefer to dance as closely as possible to Cayden,” I grinned.
She studied my expression for a moment. “You’re joking, right?!”
I looked her in the eyes, shaking my head.
“Are you and Cayden one of those gushy
couples we used to make fun of?”
“Maybe,” I replied. By the look on Trista’s face, she was appalled at the thought.
Once Kirby gained some control over his laughter, he stepped in to help me. “You have to see them together Trista, then you’ll better understand. It’s not like anything you’ve seen before… it’s real.”
“I find that hard to believe, Kirby, they’re seventeen! How real can it be?”
I was a little taken back by Trista’s disbelief…and offended by her rudeness.
“In a few days, when Cayden returns home, you will see things differently,” Kirby reasoned with confidence.
“Okay,” I interjected, “how about instead of debating my relationship with Cayden, we go get ready for this club.” Clearly it is too soon in her visit to get into all of this.
“I’m gonna run home while you two get it together,” Kirby said. “How long do you think you’ll be?”
“Maybe a half hour,” I answered.
“Which means, forty-five minutes to an hour; I know how the two of you operate.”
We all laughed, knowing Kirby was exactly right. Trista and I have always underestimated how long we’d take.
“Are you staying over tonight, Kirby?” I briefly wondered how Cayden would feel about this. The last time the idea came up—after our horrific encounter with Jack and Sadie in the cave and my emotional episode that followed—Cayden’s emerald eyes flashed with disapproval and jealousy, nixing the idea.
“Sure,” Kirby answered.
“Great, you can grab your stuff while you are home,” I suggested, with another idea popping into mind. “Hey, I just remembered, we can take the BMW tonight if we want.”
“BMW? You got a BMW and didn’t tell me?”
“No, the car’s not mine Trista, it’s Cayden’s. He left it for me while he’s gone,” I told her. “We could drive it…or my Jeep. You haven’t seen my Jeep yet.”
“I say we take the BMW,” Kirby piped in. “It’s a sweet ride.”
After Kirby left, Trista and I prepared for our night out. Alone together for the first time since she arrived, we were able to talk while we touched up our make-up and hair. It was weird though, there seemed to be an awkwardness between us. I wasn’t sure if during the months apart we’d shifted to different places in our lives, or if I was just used to my life revolving around Cayden. I hoped the visit wouldn’t remain this awkward…