Anxious for the day to follow, Elizabeth found that she couldn’t sleep that night. Despite that plush, comfortable bed, she tossed and turned for at least an hour — or what she estimated to be an hour, as she hadn’t found a single clock throughout the home — before decided to just get up and use her time productively. She decided to peruse the library further. She slipped from the silken sheets and put her jeans and t-shirt back on. After seeing a few people of this world, and the way they dressed, she felt a bit out of place. She had been offered a tunic and riding pants to wear, but had declined as she didn’t yet feel comfortable. The only tie she still had to her world were the clothing she had worn on her back when she came with Leon through the portal.543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡbPD7aPvLBP
As she perused the library by candlelight, she discovered what appeared to be a small caged enclosure containing a dozen or so leather-bound books. She imagined they were probably hand-written and become inquisitive. However, when she tried to open the cage, she discovered that it was locked. Curious, she pondered. Mumbling to herself about the unnecessary effort, she set about searching through the various desk drawers for anything resembling a key — or even something she could use to pry open the enclosure. Someone obviously didn’t want these books read, which only made her the more determined to do just that. Why do I care? She wondered to herself. I can’t even read the language anyway, she thought. Then again, it’s not the point of the matter; it’s a matter of the challenge, her mind countered.543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ2RYCLadAEB
After a long and thorough search turned up empty-handed, Elizabeth figured the key must be within The Dreamer’s room or study. She realized she had never seen a bedroom for the old man, and figured it must lay up those spiraling staircases in his study. How does he manage those stairs every day? She wondered as she made her way creeping from the library towards the study, like a common criminal.543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡFtnE3AWkj2
“What are you doing?” a voice startled her and she froze in place. 543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ1CNtkFEKXR
Oh crap, she thought to herself as she turned to meet the piercing blue eyes of Leon staring her down.543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡvrIw9PzkIO
“Well?” he asked impatiently.543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ0gwClqBdgq
“I was just exploring; I couldn’t sleep,” she explained.543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡpqQe5VKEvZ
“We have a long journey ahead of us tomorrow,” he countered with a sigh. “Please, try to sleep; I wouldn’t want you to collapse of exhaustion.”543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ8iW92QDwuT
“I will soon,” she promised. Leon arched an eyebrow.543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡJbRVdKyfRT
“You are up to something; what is it?” Leon asked.543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡnVdxNqk12Y
“Nothing,” Elizabeth lied but Leon’s expression told her he didn’t believe her. Elizabeth sighed and finally relaxed the tension in her shoulders. “I found a locked area of the library; I want to know what’s in it,” she explained.543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡTvrfiLVSke
“Did you ever consider perhaps it’s locked for a reason?” Leon appeared to be annoyed with her deception.543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ4r7ob7KqiT
“Well… yes. But that’s why I need to know!” Elizabeth explained.543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ9IRGZmI9Va
“Need?” Leon seemed unmoved by her plight.543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡNvKqQcbIWL
“Curiosity gets the better of me.”543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡqIs2lPVVQs
“Clearly.” Leon sighed heavily, giving in. “Come on,” he said as he turned to walk towards the library. Elizabeth followed him, curious.543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡuHwXvxwYQ0
“But what about the key?” she asked. Leon reached into his tunic and produced a tarnished bronze key attached to a chord around his neck.543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡjYwuiPxXVa
“I have it,” he explained.543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ5QW0E2tU1B
“Why do you have it?” she asked.543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡVmsOFwV6ur
“Because they’re my journals,” he replied. Elizabeth realized in that moment how rude and inconsiderate she must has seemed.543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡsXxu03DPdR
“I’m sorry!” she exclaimed, stopping dead in her tracks. Leon gave her a puzzled look.543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡraVlnuuGLK
“I thought you wanted to know what was in them?” he asked.543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡTGGfwJg4Nm
“Well… yes, but I didn’t realize they were your personal journals,” she replied. Leon sighed again, clearly at the end of his wits with him, and moved to grasp her hand firmly. Elizabeth felt that familiar feeling welling up inside her and tried to surpress the strange surge of emotions that overtook her whenever he was close. She now knew they weren’t her feelings, but remnants of her past life’s affection for Leon and the close relationship they had shared. Still, they were feel good emotions, and Elizabeth couldn’t help but blush as he pulled her towards the library.543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡ7iSlcJ9RX4
Reaching the cage in the library, Leon produced the key again and unlocked the rusted door.543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡL1G6140qSW
“There,” he said as he indicated to the journals laying inside. “Feel free to read whatever you want.” As he turned to go, Elizabeth cleared her throat.543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡCQxvpsZLIX
“Well… the thing is, I can’t read your language,” she admitted. Realization dawned on Leon and he produced a sound that nearly sounded like a growl.543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡHZFlS9SfYF
“Fine,” he said as he gently picked up one of the journals, almost reverently.543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡnHzsTKwFkz
“Fine what?” Elizabeth asked. Leon walked over to pull out a chair from the nearest desk.543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡdEG88Fb1nZ
“Sit,” he ordered. Elizabeth complied quickly. “I’ll read them to you, if you so desire,” he offered, a flush coming over his face as he avoided eye contact with her.543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡkeNPRXAsl6
“Okay, if it’s not too much trouble,” Elizabeth replied excitedly. Leon sat down beside her, close enough to feel the heat from his body, and both of them shared a moment of awkward silence as Leon carefully opened the journal, cleared his throat, and began to read aloud.543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡYqBpSWIC4M
As soon as the first words left his lips, Elizabeth’s mind exploded in a bright white light, which turned into a waking dream vision of her past life.
They met in the clearing, where the standing crystals gleamed in the moonlight.
As she stood awaiting him, she watched the stars twinkling in the sky and silently made a wish to herself upon watching a shooting star streak through the night air. There was a slight chill in the air, but the cold had never bothered Eloise.
She stood in long, sheer, flowing robes in pale blues and whites. In the gentle breeze, they flowed around her slender frame like a lover’s embrace enfolding her. It showed off the sensual curve of her hips and slender waist, and accentuated her full bosom. Her pale skin looked like alabaster and contrasted with her midnight hair and golden eyes. Her lips were full and pale pink like a cherry blossom in full bloom. Her sharp features and high cheekbones gave her a truly regal look.
A sound drew her attention suddenly to a newcomer, and she sighed with relief when Leon emerged from the thicket. His downy-soft waves of black hair flowed around his shoulders in the breeze, framing his soft features. His piercing electric blue eyes were entranced on her, drinking in her moonlit beauty. He wore a loose-fitting tan tunic and tight black riding pants. His boots were covered in mud from his trek there.
“Eloise.” His voice was soft, compassionate, as he reached out to caress her cheek and leaned close enough that his warm breath tickled her skin. Eloise closed her eyes and reveled in the feeling of his skin against hers as he took another step even closer. Without warning, he slipped an arm around her waist and pulled her closer, pressed tightly to him. She gasped, a hitch in her breath as her long lashes fluttered open again. Her breasts flushed against his chest, and her hips pressed tight against his. He stood a full head taller than her, and had to lean down in order to meet his lips with hers.
Elizabeth returned to her senses to the sound of Leon’s voice, deep in reading from his journals. He was recounting that same moment in time that Elizabeth had just envisioned. She realized that she had leaned into Leon’s side unwittingly as he read to her, but didn’t want to move away. Eloise’s emotions were still playing inside of her heart, and Elizabeth was having a harder time separating them from her own with every memory that returned to her.
Leon noticed the shift in her breathing, and paused mid-sentence.
“You had another vision, didn’t you,” he said rhetorically instead of a question. Elizabeth nodded any way. “About what I was reading, or something else?” he asked, hesitant to hear the answer. Re-living his past was difficult as it was for him. Reliving it with her beside him was even more difficult, and his heart ached every moment he had to tolerate her presence.
“No, it was something else… you two were meeting in a beautiful clearing by moonlight,” Elizabeth began to recount but Leon scoffed and stood up suddenly.543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡlEBt3KedJV
“You don’t appear to need my help remembering for yourself.” He shrugged and returned the journal to its place in the caged shelf. As he went to lock it again, Elizabeth got ahold of her faculties and surged towards him, grabbing his arm before he could lock it.
“No!” she exclaimed.
“What?” Leon was taken aback by her abrupt forwardness.
“Please, I want to remember, and it only works when you’re around,” she explained. Leon paused to consider her predicament.
“Why?” he asked. Elizabeth blushed and tried to turn away, but Leon cupped a hand under her chin and turned her gaze back to meet his. “Why?” he asked again. “Why do you torment me so? Why do you have her eyes?” he asked more to himself than her.
“I can’t help feeling her sentiments for you,” Elizabeth admitted, “they won’t go away, even though I know they aren’t my own feelings.”
“How do you know they are not?” Leon asked and Elizabeth faltered, unsure how to answer that question.
How do I know? She wondered, considering the possibility. Her mouth gaped open and closed a couple times as she tried to locate the words she needed, but was unable to. Leon’s eyes searched hers while she remained silent, and looked her over as though for the first time truly seeing her. She could feel his breath close and warm on her skin as they remained in silence for long time, never breaking eye contact the entire time.
The action was slow and intended as both of them leaned forward to close the gap. Their lips met, tentatively at first, but the longer they embraced the more fervent and passionate the kiss became.543Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡYzNHFIyH8x