He touched her lips of sapphire blue and remembered them red.
Long nights had been spent in this house. Long nights had dragged them closer in, tucking them under its protective shawl. Wind creaked the old stairway. He glanced up at the steps from where he knelt, seeing nothing but the dark shadow seeping out of the landing.
They’d met here a thousand times before, but he wondered what could have brought her back. The circle outside lay unbroken.
It was unsafe.
There were nine gates. He wondered how far she had passed through them, curious to know if she could finally find her way back alone when she’d gone too far. He stroked the blue cold of her lips with one long, barely there fingertip.
She’d thought she could escape him. After all she’d done, how could she believe that he would let her go so easily?
He moved his hands through her hair, gazing upon her too pale face. They’d been together so long before she’d run away. Even now he didn’t understand it. She’d just disappeared with no explanation, running into the blue with no letter or token of goodbye.
Who had she upset?
The ceiling creaked, reminding him that they were not alone. Whispers fluttered around the house. Shadows hid in corners with dark eyes that stared out of the emptiness. The ghosts were there and they would not leave, prying on the living.
But he was neither living nor dead. And right now, neither was she.
He brushed back her hair and kissed her icy lips. The tickle of a tiny breath pressed his translucent skin, rushing from her mouth. She was still there, still hanging on.
She’d stepped too far into death, pushing through the boundaries and the gates until she was nearly in the afterlife. He didn’t understand why she’d done it. What would have possessed her? Or who…?
The front door rattled.
He sensed them, their lust and their urgency. He could feel the death vibes from where he sat. Were they the reason she’d stepped too far?
“Come on, Sadie. Come back to me.”
Cold breath expelled from her lips, frosting the air. It was a bad sign. It meant that she’d stepped too close. If she slipped through that last gate there was no coming back. There was no seeing her again.
“Come on, Sadie. Please. I need you. I’ve always needed you.”
He stroked her hair. She’d looked so lovely the day they were supposed to marry. He’d vowed that she was the only woman for him, the only one he would ever give up his immortality for. Nobody else deserved that.
She’d left him, though.
She’d run away, not knowing that no matter how far she ran, he was there, hiding like the whisper of a breath in the shadows. He was always watching her, always protecting. Then she’d slipped away from him for only a moment and this had happened. The vampires broke at the door.
How could he save her?
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