Chapter Eighteen: Reunited in Doubt
Anastasia was running and laughing. She was hurtling through bushes, roses and flower beds. She had never felt so happy.
"Ana! I am gonna catch you!" Alexander's voice was not far away. She had to run quicker, if she didn't want him catching her. And for some reason, she couldn't let him catch her. He did not belong to her, and she didn't belong to him either. Somehow, even in this dream, she knew that.
She was happy, but he mustn't catch her, or she would stop being so happy. She made a sharp turn and hurtled down a flowery corridor. Something pricked on her back, and she leaped into the air. Golden wings spread behind her, and she was flying, flying over the rosy garden, away from Alexander, who was still looking for her down there in the roses and bushes.
Where did the wings come from? How could she fly like this?
She twirled in the air, her wings twirling with her, and then she saw him. He was still masked, but his sleek silky black wings were the reason she recognized him. He was flying towards her, his wings gleaming and so beautiful under the sunlight.
"Quickly... Before he sees you in the air." He whispered.
"He wouldn't hurt me. He wouldn't. Who are you? Why wouldn't you let me be with him?"
"Because you would hurt him." The stranger whispered. "You already hurt him once, Ana. You cannot hurt him again."
"I would never hurt Alexander. I…" Ana took a deep breath. "I love him."
"That is precisely why you would hurt him. You cannot love him, Ana. You cannot. Trust me on this." He gritted his teeth.
And Ana believed him. She flew towards the masked man-like creature. What was he like?
"Now fly with me. I will shield you with my wings."
Alexander had found her, and he was rising from the ground. When Ana looked at him, his eyes were wide with horror.
"Ana, come ON!" The stranger said. "For God's sake!"
"Ana, don't. Don't leave me here alone. Don't leave me now!" Alexander yelled hoarsely, full of desperation.
Anastasia jolted awake, causing Louis to cry with surprise. She looked around her, her brain trying to locate herself. Yes, she was in a taxi. She remembered now, Louis and Dorothea were taking her to a party in the Lounge. She had been sleeping on Louis' lap, short trip though it was, she felt as if she had slept for hours. It's the freaking dream, she told herself. So many things happened in the dream. They are changing somehow. They are not just about Alexander, but about someone else as well. Who is he?
"Ana, sweetheart?" Dorothea's chocolate-brown eyes narrowed in concern. "Are you feeling alright?"
She gave a shake of her head, and felt Louis' arm coming around her shoulders. They felt reassuring somehow.
"Yes. I didn't sleep well last night, and I am completely busted today. Sorry, Louis." She added to her friend.
He looked deeply into her eyes, until she was consumed by the blue oceans of his eyes. He tugged her closer, and his fingers ran up her arm to her bare shoulder. "Can you promise me, Anastasia?"
She was surprised that he was so serious all of a sudden. She glanced swiftly at Dorothea, but Louis put a finger under her chin and tilted her face up. "Ana, focus. Can you promise me?"
"How could I promise without knowing what I am getting into?"
Louis chuckled darkly, and he pressed his lips to her forehead. "Don't you trust me?"
"Stay safe, Ana. Don't let yourself carry you away from me." He whispered.
"What are you-"
He seized her hand and squeezed it.
"I can't lose you, Ana. Not in a thousand years."
"And you won't. I promise you won't. Please-"
"We are here." Dorothea cut in.
Anastasia scrambled out of the cab, Louis following close behind her. Once they were in front of the Lounge, he tugged her closer possessively. She knew something was happening between them. Louis was scared... scared of losing her. She couldn't think of why, but he was scared. She wanted to take away his fear, because he was the most important thing to her now.
She touched his lips with her finger, hesitatingly. The heat from his body burned her, and she knew he wanted her. He wanted her so much that one word from her, and he would surrender to his desires and…Well, they both knew too well what would happen.
"Louis, don't be afraid." She whispered, sliding her hand down his cheek, past his neck, to his shoulder, where she slipped her hand beneath his shirt and caressed his muscled skin. "I won't ever leave you without telling you."
He slid a finger down her cheek, and brushed a strand of her hair back behind her ear. His finger slid to her neck, and it brushed past her pale throat.
"It's not enough, Anastasia." He whispered in a desperate voice.
"Louis… what is going on?"
He glanced around, then, sure that no one was watching and Dorothea was a good distance in front of them, he tugged her closer to his body and took her face in both hands. He stared deeply into her eyes, and his lips were only inches from hers.
"I love you. I love you with every drop of blood I have and every fiber of my body. If you only knew how much I love you..."
"I do. And I love you, more than I have ever loved anyone, and I will always love you, no matter what happens."
"That's my point, Ana." His voice sounded desperate, and his eyes were dark and mournful. "I know... there is someone else."
"There is no-"
She paused... Alexander. The name sent a jolt through her body. Louis was talking about Alexander. That was stupid. He is nothing but a dream. The real Alexander didn't want her, so Louis had nothing to worry at all. Because Alexander Giovannni would never love her, or want her, or even want to see her.
She took Louis' face in her hands, and looked into his troubled blue eyes.
"Louis, no one will take me away. There is no one else. No one else other than you, do you understand me? It's YOU I love, I want. And NO ONE ELSE. So stop being so jealous... unnecessary and insecure. I will always love you. Even if you stop loving me."
His grip on her tightened. His hands felt hot through her black dress.
"Me, stop loving you?" He demanded. "Trust me, Ana, if we ever break up, it will be you who'll dump me."
"Good, then we have nothing to worry about because I will NEVER EVER leave you. I promise you."
His lips came upon hers, and she sucked in his lower lip hungrily. She clasped her hands behind his neck and took control of the kiss, her whole body throwing against him, eager to show him how much he meant to her. Her lips dragged down his chin to his neck, and she pressed her lips eagerly against his pulsing vein. He tore away with a gasp, and held her away from him.
"Stop." He said hoarsely.
She quickly released him, stepping backward.
He smiled faintly. "It's just that your kiss tasted a little too desperate, and I was scared as hell."
She brushed her lips with her hand. "I didn't…"
Louis grabbed her hand, and pressed a kiss on the back of it. "This conversation isn't over, you know."
"Hello, Ana." A hand clasped onto her shoulders.
She whirled around, expecting to see Louis, but- It was Alexander.
His green eyes were sparkling, his leather jacket opened to reveal a white shirt underneath. He was smiling at her, as he did in her dreams. Despite the excuses she made for herself, they still made her heart stop.
"Alex." She whispered.
His smile looked so sad and desperate, his eyes rested on her in an almost hopeless way.
"I am so sorry, Anastasia." He said quietly, his arm extended towards her. "Can you forgive me?"
She took a step backward, her heart pounding in her chest. She wanted to escape... escape from those impossibly sad green eyes, but she couldn't. Because... she couldn't let him go like this.
"Alex, it's okay." She whispered. "You made the decision, you must stick to it. You told me to stay away from you, and I promised. I didn't try to find you. Now it's time for you to stick to your bargain, Alex. So please… please don't ruin everything."
His arm dropped to his sides, and he sort of swayed on the spot. His green eyes were fixed on her, and he moved forward.
"Am I too late for you, Ana?"