My favorite scene of Broken Magic
Copyright © 2017 by India Kells
All rights reserved
After another bout of coughing, Valeria laid her head on her pillow, feeling so dizzy that it took a long moment to open her eyes again. Time passed, only bringing her more coughing and exhaustion. Her energy level was dropping fast, she could barely move anymore. Was this what death really felt like? She surely hoped so. Apart from the fire in her chest and throat, she didn’t feel pain anymore, only regrets.
Deep down inside, she didn’t want to die, but what were her choices? She had been discovered. If that werewolf, or anyone in his pack, knew who she really was, her father would be in danger. Family was the only important thing, despite the conflict with her father. She did not want to risk him being accused of going rogue, just like her. It had been her choice, her willing sacrifice, when she fled two years ago. It was the reason she decided to jump off that bridge. Unfortunately, she miscalculated that he would jump after her and fish her out.
Now what? She could only wait. It was weird that, for two years now, she had been powerless on so many levels, first betrayed by her powers, and now by her body. She closed her eyes and remembered who she had been before that fatal night and wasn’t sure if she liked her. Valeria Lancaster had been the puppet of her father, training and studying to become an Enforcer, to make her father proud of her despite the son she could never be. Valeria would have laughed if she had had the strength. Every step she took had not been her own, always put in the perspective of what her father would say. Well, now she was sad that she would never know what kind of woman, what kind of witch she could have become had she not been smothered by another man’s wishes.
The door lock turned. The noise familiar now. Each and every time it turned, the blonde woman appeared. She came, frowning, pushing that tray near her, and glaring some more when Valeria didn’t touch it. Several times a day, she came into the basement, never opening the door of her cell. At first, she threatened, but after a while, she tried to cajole her, almost begging her to eat what was on her tray. She was probably a good woman. Maybe she even cared a little, but it wasn’t important anymore. And even to please this female, Valeria was incapable of bringing herself to stand up and eat.
So when the door opened this time again, she didn’t move and left her eyes closed. Why bother?
However, the rhythm was different somehow. No mumbling, no shuffling, no rattling of the silverware on the tray. She could smell food though, and it turned her stomach, same as before. Only silence now. Was she gone already? Valeria opened her eyes to see the blonde werewolf standing outside her cell, with a tray of food in his hands. He remained there, frowning. For a moment, she examined his face. He looked larger than in her memory. When she recognized him at the soup kitchen, she didn’t take the time to detail his expression, but now… He looked sterner, with deeper lines around his eyes. He was as gold as in her memory in the forest, all clad in black, making him appear even more dangerous. Did men do that? Choose their clothing for that effect?
“Glad to see you’ve awakened, witch.”
His tone was sharp as glass. He could have changed the W to a B, and it would have been the same in her ears. But a strange pun to his. Amusement stirred inside her.
“You need to eat. I’ve brought you food.”
Valeria wanted to tell him to shove off, but when she opened her mouth, air irritated her throat some more, and she started coughing again. She tried to push herself up a little, but her body was trembling and shaking with each spasm. Her vision blurred and she began to feel panic as it became more and more difficult to draw air into her lungs. She focused hard on regaining her breath and controlling her cough. Valeria didn’t know for how long, but when she finally succeeded, it took a moment for her head to stop hurting. When she could open her eyes again, she was alone. The door was closed and golden man with the tray was nowhere to be seen.
And honestly, she didn’t care where he went. She curled up on her cot and tried to relax and steady her breathing. The bouts were coming closer together, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to survive them.
When the wheezing lowered in her ears, she noticed the front door being unlocked again. The golden man came in, followed by another man, older. His reddish hair was thinning on the top, and there was more salt than pepper in his beard. The man that accompanied the golden wolf into the soup kitchen, she remembered now. He carried a small case in his hand.
Fear surged in Valeria, like nothing she had experienced before. She knew there was good in the golden man’s soul, she had touched it before. But she couldn’t bring herself to trust the other. He looked at her with a mix of contempt and caution that didn’t sit well with her. In her feverish mind, she only saw herself being trapped with him, abused or tortured. Anxiety invaded every logical and sensible cell of her brain. Adrenaline surged and she used what was left of the energy in her to push herself up on her cot, wrap her blanket more tightly around her naked form and huddle against the wall. That way, she would use the wall to stand and hopefully propel herself against the intruders.
Her movements stopped the two men in their tracks. Valeria couldn’t detect if the other man was a shifter too. He was still too far away, and her senses were in a jumble. They made another step in her direction and she jerked.
They turned their back for a moment to discuss, and the older man exited the room quickly.
Valeria braced herself when the golden man came and unlocked her cell door. She felt her power hum in her fingertips and she worked hard at getting it back under control. Even if she wanted to defend herself, she didn’t want to kill him. And that’s exactly what would happen if she let her magic out.
She’d been strung out for so long, her body started to shake. Valeria held on as her eyes never left the man at the entrance of her cell. Then, she began shaking so hard, it was difficult to remain standing. And her increased heart rate and blood pressure inflamed her lungs once again as coughing took over.
She didn’t hear him closing in as her body was in convulsions, trying to gulp air and survive. Her ribs ached with each spasm, and she felt herself tilt toward the floor. Surprisingly, she didn’t hit cold concrete. She was caught mid-fall. In a tangle of body and blanket, she felt surrounded in a warm cocoon, a living and breathing one. The coughing took a long time to stop. When it finally ended, and she caught her breath back, she realized that she was plastered against the golden werewolf. Her blanket had dropped and was only covering her back. Her naked front was against him. Although he was fully clothed, the unusual warmth of his body seeped and appeased her weary bones. She lifted her head, and saw he was intently looking at her, his blue eyes searing. Valeria could feel the preternatural strength of his body. One squeeze and he could easily break her in two. She couldn’t move, trapped in unyielding bands, even when he removed one arm, He gently parted the curtain of her brown hair and wiped her mouth. There was blood on his fingers. Her blood. Wasn’t it the end when the patient was coughing blood? She had been for a while now.
The werewolf examined her as he did years ago. There was less curiosity in him, as if he was waiting to see something specific. As before, he lowered his head and smelled her skin. For the first time, she felt self-conscious. She must have smelled disgusting, and it bothered her. But there was no possibility of get away. He wasn’t allowing it. A sound brought her attention back to the room. The other man, the older man, was in the basement, putting his case on the table. With his back to her, she couldn’t see what he was doing, but when he turned, she froze. He had a syringe in his hand. Valeria tried to get away, but it was like trying to push a boulder with her bare hands. There was no way she could get away. The older man hesitated at the entrance of the cell and waited. A low growl under her fingers made her look up.
“Stop fighting, you’ll only cough more.” The voice was only partially human and very annoyed. Her body betrayed her state and started shaking, more from exhaustion than fear. The hold of his captor loosened a bit, and one of his hands rubbed her back. The older man came closer, and Valeria almost tried to get under the blonde werewolf’s skin to escape.
It was quick, and she barely felt the needle. What she felt before slumber took over was the soothing hand rhythmically caressing her spine and the warmth against her cheek. The luxury of comfort she hadn’t experienced in a long time. Her last thought was of being grateful to her captor, and that weird thought made her smile.
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